If you are lucky enough to visit Xian, China, you are likely headed there for the Terracotta Warriors. However, not to be missed is the dumpling banquet! I was able to enjoy such a banquet, filled with 18 different dumplings of different shapes, sizes and flavors. Each dumpling is carefully hand-crafted to represent an animal or a food. I was inspired by this banquet to make my own shaped dumplings.
Today I'm going to show you how to make your dumplings look like a beautiful celestial goldfish. The celestial goldfish has bubble eyes that bulge out of its head. This dumpling is not much more difficult to make than a regular dumpling but it will have a huge impact the next time you serve dinner!
Note: I added color and some additional tips thanks to an idea from Caitlin's Dad!
Step 1: Ingredients
Gather your ingredients:
Won Ton Wrappers (I was pleased to find these at my local grocery store, purchase the square ones)
Filling (Today I used shrimp but you can use any ground meat)
Gather your tools:
Steamer (I have an electric one, but there are tons of types, bamboo, metal, even plastic microwaveable ones)
Food Safe Marker in orange
Step 2: Cut the Won Ton Wrapper
Make slits in the Won Ton Wrapper.
Cut just 5 slits on the back quarter of your wrapper. These will create the fan tail.
Cut one slit in the center of the front quarter of the wrapper. This will form the face and eyeballs.
Tip: Once you are comfortable with this process, you can cut 5 at once. Just make sure you have a dry and sharp knife.
Step 3: Add Filling and Wet Wrapper
Add a walnut sized amount of filling. I used cooked shrimp because that's what I had on hand but you can certainly start with raw shrimp, ground pork, chicken etc. Use your favorite type of filling. I chose shrimp because I knew it would give the goldfish a bit of a pink color.
Fill a small dish with water and use your finger to wet the edge around the "body" of the goldfish.
Step 4: Fold Up the Body
Bring the two wet triangles up together, press with your fingers to seal, the top fin and the back of the body.
New tip added: Roll the top fin down one more time like folding a paper bag down, this will make a more stable seal.
Step 5: Create the Eyes
Using one finger on your non dominant hand, press up on the two center triangle flaps on the "face".
Using your dominant hand, drop in a green pea and then wrap that triangle around the pea. Make sure to dab some water on there to get a good seal.
Step 6: Optional Step Add Color
Safely add color by using a food safe marker. Do not use a regular marker on your food. I was quite pleased to find that this color does not seem to run too badly when you steam the won tons.
Step 7: Cook the Dumplings
Place the dumplings in your steamer on top of parchment paper. Be careful to not let any of the goldfish bodies touch any of the other bodies or they will stick together.
One final step before you start to steam them, make sure to wet the tails or they will get kind of starchy looking, you want translucent, beautiful fan tails.
Finally, steam them for 12-15 minutes until they are translucent and thoroughly cooked.
Step 8: Take Out and Enjoy!
They're done! Enjoy these on a plate with some soy sauce, or nestle them on top of a bed of ramen soup. For a fun place setting, try folding up a napkin into a goldfish too!
Enjoy a taste of Xian!